More than a year has passed since the global COVID-19 pandemic was declared. While America, and particularly my home state of West Virginia, has made unprecedented strides in its recovery, there is still much to be done to get the global economy back on track.
As the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that fair and market-based U.S. energy trade policies play a role in rebuilding the world. We must significantly increase the exportation of America’s natural resources – coal, liquified natural gas (LNG), and oil – and at the same time, promote innovative energy technologies such as carbon capture, efficient coal burning, and advanced battery storage manufacturing.
American energy, particularly oil and gas, is a cornerstone of our economy. It provides jobs and stability for millions of American families. Thanks to technological advancements in the energy industry, such as horizontal drilling, the United States is a net energy exporter – a milestone that has unlocked even more wealth and created jobs for millions of Americans, along with bolstering our national security.
Unfortunately, President Biden’s misguided policies, such as killing the Keystone Pipeline and restricting oil and gas development on federal lands, will handicap America’s energy industry. We must harness, not hinder, the full potential of our energy resources to provide the global economy a lifeline when it needs it most.
Even Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm recently expressed support before a Senate hearing for U.S. LNG exports. As the Biden administration refines its commitments to the Paris Agreement and the upcoming 26th Conference of the Parties (COP 26), I hope the White House will adopt balanced policies toward the U.S. energy sector, including support for the exportation of clean American LNG and other energy forms as a solution to addressing global emissions as well as rebuilding our world economy after the pandemic.
We can bolster the global economic recovery through increased American energy exports in three ways: improving infrastructure, fostering public-private partnerships on emissions technologies and modern machinery, and cultivating energy-focused trade relationships with our international allies and competitors.
First, America has an infrastructure system in dire need of an overhaul. However, with the recent unveiling of President Biden’s partisan “infrastructure” package, it’s unfortunate that we’ve missed the opportunity to provide one. To earn bipartisan support, proposed legislation must create domestic jobs, promote economic growth, and include federal support to build and complete critical energy infrastructure so we can transport and export energy in a manner that satisfies high standards in safety and emissions.
Second, we must utilize American public-private partnerships to provide our government the freedom and flexibility needed to invest in innovative energy technologies like carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS). The passage of the Energy Act of 2020 was a step in the right direction to compel the federal government to foster affordable and scalable CCUS technologies. This will help U.S. energy producers and utilities reduce climate emissions while preserving high-paying jobs in the natural gas, oil, and coal sectors.
It’s also critical that America strengthens relationships and foster agreements with trading partners who need secure, clean, and efficient energy supply chains, such as India, Vietnam, and even China. The U.S. should continue to incorporate LNG in all Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations and work with our allies to better expedite exports to non-FTA countries such as Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, and India. Congress should explore the opportunity for India to significantly increase the importation of U.S. LNG and critical natural gas infrastructure technologies to bolster its quest to be a gas-based economy.
We must also hold our competitors accountable, including ensuring that China complies with its Phase 1 energy purchase obligations. By fostering and renewing America’s trade relationships through energy exports, we can reduce the influence of dictators and totalitarian regimes that prey on our allies, harm the environment, promote corruption, and create debt traps that exacerbate poverty in emerging economies.
Energy poverty in the developing world is a significant impediment to human advancement. U.S. energy exports can provide clean, efficient, and affordable energy to impoverished countries. It’s imperative that we maintain and expand bold energy infrastructure initiatives in developing countries through key federal agencies such as Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). According to the American Exploration and Production Council, nearly a billion people worldwide lack access to electricity, which severely hampers overall quality of life, including access to critical healthcare and internet connectivity.
Through strategic trade efforts, innovative public-private partnerships, and a comprehensive infrastructure revamp, American energy exports can meet global demand and revitalize our great economic recovery while enhancing global security and meeting global emissions goals. We need to embrace our energy economy, including a wide mix of fuels and available technologies.
As the global economy turns back on, America will power it.
Carol Devine Miller, a Republican, represents West Virginia’s Third District and serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, including the Trade and Worker and Family Support Subcommittees. She also is the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Energy Export Caucus.
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- On April 28, 2021